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Identity Trouble and Place ofResidence in Women’s Life Narratives

By Stephanie Taylor


Work in narrative and discursive psychology offers a theoretical and analytic\ud approach to the meaning of place for identity in contemporary society. The\ud conventional ‘born and bred’ or nativeness connection between place and\ud residence based on long-term personal and family connection can be\ud understood as a canonical narrative (Bruner, 1987) and a resource for speakers\ud in their identity work in relation to place. Wetherell (1998) and others have\ud suggested that speakers engage actively in such identity work, for example, by\ud taking up subject positions, but they are also constrained, for example, by the\ud resources and positions made available by larger discourses. This constraint\ud can appear as ‘trouble’, when an identity is potentially challengeable as\ud implausible or inconsistent. In a society characterised by increased mobility\ud and instability of residence, such trouble can occur in conventional positioning\ud in relation to place. Analysis of interview data from women speakers reveals an\ud alternative positioning in relation to a chosen place of residence. The emphasis\ud on choice and opportunity in their talk is consistent with the reflexive project\ud to construct an individual identity of self and achievement associated with a\ud contemporary or neo-liberal subject (Rose, 1996; Walkerdine, 2003). However\ud the analysis suggests that this alternative identity work is also constrained, and\ud that trouble occurs in relation to a gendered identity

Topics: HQ, BF
Publisher: University of Huddersfield
Year: 2005
OAI identifier:

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